Spring Winter Salads and Vegetables

Purple sprouting broccoli vinaigrette


Purple sprouting has a key role in the vegetable seasons – it comes at a time when little else is able to grow and when it comes, it suggests the imminent arrival of spring! The tender new stalks and pretty purple flowers are a very welcome sight in the garden, in my veg box and in the local green grocer. This is a very simple way to prepare it and a chance to really taste the sweetness of the fresh growth.

Serves 2-4 as a starter or as an accompaniment to a simply cooked fillet of fish.

This recipe originally appeared in House and Garden magazine.


  • 1 small bunch per person of purple sprouting broccoli

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Trim the broccoli, removing any tough outer leaves and stem. Break into small, bit-sized florets.
  • Set a pan of water to boil and either steam the broccoli until tender (for fresh plants, this will only take a couple of minutes) or if you don’t have a steamer, boil for a couple of minutes in plenty of well salted water, drain and refresh under cold water to keep the stems looking bright and green.
  • Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: Put the crushed garlic into a bowl and mix with the mustard. Add the vinegar and then slowly pour in the oil, whisking to form a thick emulsion. Stir in the capers and season well to taste.
  • Put the warm broccoli stems on a plate with the vinaigrette poured over them.


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